The Cleveland Browns have two top-notch impending free agents on their hands in Alex Mack and T.J. Ward, and it looks like one of those will be taken off of the free agent board today. Ahead of today’s 4:00 p.m. ET deadline to use the franchise tag or transition tag on a player, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Cleveland Browns will use the transition tag on star center Alex Mack, who was never viewed as a franchise/transition tag candidate. Ward was once viewed as a franchise tag candidate, but it was reported earlier today by CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora that the Browns weren’t expected to use the tag on their star strong safety.
However, they are using the transition tag on Mack, and the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reports, citing a source, that the Browns are planning on tagging Mack, with the transition tag looking like a strong possibility than the franchise tag.
The transition tag allows the Browns to match any offers for Mack, and I’m sure at least one team will decide to offer one of the game’s best centers a lucrative contract. The Browns, per a tweet from Rapoport earlier today, met with Mack over the weekend, as new GM Ray Farmer has, unlike the previous regime, done everything possible to show a high amount of interest in Mack. It will be interesting to see if someone can lure him away to their team by paying enough money, and placing the transition tag on Mack also makes Ward’s future in Cleveland even more interesting to ponder.